May 19, 2017 by Matthew Brooks
Philadelphia has one of the highest injury and fatality rates from car crashes. According to an article on Wieand Law Firm website, the city was at the top of the list when it came to these kinds of crashes in 2013, 2014 and 2015.
Being a longboard rider, getting around campus doesn’t take very much time for me. I can generally reach the Main Building from the freshman dorms in under five minutes if I take the fastest route. Such a fast form of transportation allows me to leave my dorm at a later time for class and get more exercise than I do when I walk to class.
However, Philadelphia is the first city that I have ever ridden my longboard regularly in, and I must say that it is quite stressful sometimes.
Like most longboard riders, I prefer to avoid riding on the sidewalk to avoid pedestrians. A lot of the sidewalks on Drexel’s campus are also quite bad for certain longboard wheels to be used on. The bumps and cracks make for a bit of a rough ride, and it’s easy to be thrown off your board if you aren’t paying attention, which is something that has happened to me many times.
As much as I try to stay away from the sidewalks, sometimes traffic on the road is just too heavy, so I have to resort to the sidewalk at certain times of the day.
When traffic gets really bad, the bike lane becomes my best friend whenever I ride my longboard somewhere, and although it isn’t on every street, it’s available most of the time.
While the bike lane is very helpful, it is of course not always safe to ride in. Some of the biker lanes in the city need to be redone. The white lines that indicate where the regular car lanes end and the biker lanes begin are sometimes faded and not very clear, which can on occasion cause accidents.
There have been several times where people driving cars have not even seen me in the biker lane, and have nearly hit me. You would think that this would be enough to make me go back to just walking, but for some reason I’ve had no desire to stop using my longboard.
There is this odd sense of excitement that I get whenever I go for a ride, and I think that this is something that only other people who ride longboards can understand. Some people would probably call me crazy for riding a longboard in streets that are as busy as Philadelphia’s, and I do recognize how dangerous it can be.
Danger has never really been a deterrent for me though, despite having suffered my share of injuries in the past. The thrill of the ride is what has always kept me going.